Stars: Patrick Stewart, F. Murray Abraham, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis, LeVar Burton, Donna Murphy, Anthony Zerbe. Written by Michael Piller. Directed by Jonathan Frakes. Rated PG for sci-fi action violence, mild language and sensuality.

The curse is broken, the village is saved! Every trekker, and most non-trekker movie buffs, knows all about the odd- numbered "Star Trek" movie curse. For the first eight films of the venerable franchise, the even-numbered films were standouts while the odd-numbered films ranged from dull to just plain bad. With that kind of history, I looked forward to the ninth film, "Star Trek: Insurrection", with no small amount of trepidation. As it turns out, my worries were unfounded.

The story begins with an out-of-control Lt. Commander Data (Brent Spiner), the android third in command of the U.S.S. Enterprise, firing his phaser haphazardly on the surface of a tranquil planet. When his shipmates come to discover the problem, Data takes to space in a small craft. Finally subdued, the android unfolds a mystery regarding how he was damaged. When Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) and crew venture down to the surface, they discover a conspiracy to relocate the peaceful civilization inhabiting the planet. Going against direct orders given by an admiral (Anthony Zerbe) overseeing the mission, Picard and his senior officers make a bold stand in a fight to protect the inhabitants' interests.

The first thing you'll see in "Star Trek: Insurrection" is a credit sequence which is dull and uninspired. I don't recall any of the other Trek films not starting out with the credits overlaid on a space scene, so the stage was set for a lackluster movie experience. Thankfully, this was my last personal disappointment with the film. The story started up in an intriguing way and led to a climax that, while predictable, was still great fun.

This film, considerably more than the previous two, captures the flavor of the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" TV series to a T. And therein lies the rub. The fact that this movie plays like a two-hour episode of the hit series becomes both its greatest strength and its greatest weakness. Non "Star Trek" fans will be shaking their heads at some of the comedy and wonder why a romantic bathtub scene was included at all. Fans of the show, however, will eat this up with a big spoon and ask for more. How much you enjoy this film may very well depend on how much you appreciated "The Next Generation" in its television incarnation.

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